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Mrs Alison Drummond, a renowned author on local history, spoke to the Cambridge Branch of the National Council of Women in November 1961.
"The settlers' wives and families" she said, “often started their Waikato life in a tent. They were lucky if they had a rather more substantial whare of slab, raupo or ponga. Some of the earlier raupo whares were things of beauty; finished very prettily inside with tukutuku.
"The first of these homesteads were divided by a curtain into bedroom and kitchen. Windows were often glazed with coarse calico and cooking was generally done on an open fire outside.
"Washing was taken to the nearest creek or spring and spread to dry on bushes. The usual form of lighting was the home-made tallow candle. All the sewing of Victorian tucks and frills and the long, long seams was done at night by the light of these spluttering and rather smelly candles."

All this - and the pitter patter of numerous little feet - was our pioneering women's lot.


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